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EPA sets public hearing on Superfund site, McCook-area contamination

If you have concerns and questions about environmental contamination being investigated around industrial sites in the McCook Field and Old North Dayton areas, you may want to attend a Sept. 20 public hearing.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a public hearing that day at the Kiser Elementary School cafeteria, 1401 Leo St. The hearing starts at 6 p.m.

The agency is proposing to inject air into contaminated groundwater to strip harmful chemicals from the water as a vapor — a process the EPA calls “air sparging.”

RELATEDMcCook Field residents’ lawsuit over contamination of their Dayton neighborhood moves forward

These gases would then travel into air spaces in the soil above the water table where they could be captured by vacuum wells, sent through a treatment system, then released into the air, according to the EPA.

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The EPA is proposing to clean groundwater contamination around and near a former Behr plant at 1600 Webster St. (The plant continues to operate today, owned by German manufacturer MAHLE GmbH, which acquired the plant in 2013.)

The plant began life as a Chrysler factory in the 1930s. The U.S. EPA identifies “Superfund” sites as areas contaminated by hazardous waste and considered candidates for cleanup work.

RELATEDDespite ‘Superfund’ status, life for these Dayton residents goes on 

The plant’s environmental issues have been followed for years. Residents of the McCook Field Neighborhood learned of the issues as early as 2002, and Chrysler set up monitoring wells around the neighborhood.

The locale — Northeastern Dayton — has neighborhoods with a blend of residential, commercial and industrial uses. The U.S. EPA considers the area around Behr a “VOC (volatile organic compound) plume” site.

The issues have been part of an ongoing federal lawsuit.

MOREBehr plant raises wages, pushes for more workers 

In July, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a federal judge’s decision to grant class-action status to a lawsuit filed by McCook Field residents against Behr America Inc., Behr Thermal Dayton, Chrysler and Aramark Uniforms.

That ruling means the residents’ suit against the companies alleging groundwater and environmental contamination can go forward, the residents’ attorney, Douglas Brannon, told this news outlet.

If you wish to comment on the issues, you have several options.

You can attend the Sept. 20 hearing and submit a written or verbal statement. You can mail statements to Heriberto Leon, EPA (mail code SI-6J), 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL, 60604.

You can also email comments to leon.heriberto@epa.gov or fax them to (312) 697-2754.

The EPA say comments must be postmarked or received by Oct. 5.

For more information, go to https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=0510164

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